© Joe McDonald
use echolocation to fly around and find their food. With
echolocation, the bats make sounds as they fly. These
sounds bounce off of things around them so that they can tell
how close or far away from things they are. They can
even tell what the object is ~ like something that might taste
Bats are the only flying mammals. There are a thousand kinds
of bats in two groups: fruit bats and insect eaters.
Some kinds of bats hibernate.
They do this in caves, buildings, old mines, or hollow
trees. They build up fat during the summer so that they
can live through the winter.
Bats will sometimes hibernate in
groups. They will hang upside down, alone or in groups,
on walls or ceilings where they live. Some bats like to
be alone and will push away other bats who get too close to
When a bat
hibernates, its body temperature drops until it is about the
temperature outside. When it does this, it doesn't have to
make much body heat, so it doesn't need as much food. Bats can
hibernate a long time if they are only using a little of the food
they have stored in their bodies.
The red bat has bright red fur and is one of the
toughest ones. In the fall, these bats will fly hundreds of
miles from Canada to Ohio where they hibernate all winter. The
temperatures go as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit. They
hibernate in spaces between rocks. They wrap their tails
around them, curl up like balls, and sleep. Their body
temperatures fall, they slow down, and their hearts only beat about
ten times a minute. Usually a bat's heartbeat will be about a
thousand beats each minute. Sometimes they might have a minute
between the breaths that they take.
With Pipistrelle bats, the males set up roosts in trees
for the females who come later. They mate and then
hibernate. Males and females hibernate together and the males
leave hibernation first. The females 'hang' around having the
Not only do bats hibernate, but they also go into
a daily 'sleep' state called torpor.
Bats are nocturnal,
meaning that they are active at night. They sleep during the
daytime. They look like they are sleeping but might move
around during the day. With hibernation, they don't wake up so
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